Art Retreats

FRANCE AND ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Please scroll down to see both.

Art Retreat in France. Pink Granite Coast, Bretagne.

Landscape Painting, Touring, Unique Cultural and Outdoor Experiences. 

Dates: July 10 - 17, 2024. 
All Inclusive Package Price $2150 

Special Note: This program is ideal for families or single participants. No unaccompanied minors are allowed. Also ideal age for kids is 12 and up. Hotel rooms are for 2 and 3 persons. 

Summary: France Art Retreats with Bridgeview founders, acclaimed artists John Murray and Lena Murray began in 2010 and always focused on special regions, such as Normandy, the Loire Valley and even the island of Corsica. However, John and Lena's personal favorite region of France is Bretagne, where they had spent every summer for the last 10 years. Bretagne is unique, beautiful, rugged, culturally and architecturally rich and perfect for art and outdoor exploration. It's uniquely cool in terms of temperatures during the hot summer months which has made it the number one vacation spot for the Parisians. And it boasts the famous Bretonne school of painting that had flourished in the region in the 19th century as more and more Parisian artists found inspiration here.

While in Brittany, we hope to participate in some of the typical local celebrations such as Bastille Day festivities with fireworks and folk festivals if any occur during our stay.


Day 1. Arrival.

Participants fly/arrive at CDG Paris. Then they take a train fr om Monrparnasse Train Station in Paris to Lannion wh ere they would be met by minivans or taxis to deliver them to the Golf Hotel, 15 minutes away or 9 km. The train is a direct fast train that takes about 5 hours. It is quite comfortable, with a café car and wifi. There are several per day, but the schedule is not yet published for the summer, will be coming out later. These trains are much cheaper than in the US with prices ranging from $100 - $200 round trip depending when you book it. A good idea might be to break up the trip and stay for a day or two in Paris, of course the same can be done on the way back. Just please remember that Summer Olympics 2024 will begin in Paris on July 24, which will affect travel and prices.

Link to the hotel

Dinner at the hotel and relaxation.

Day 2. Morning and Afternoon. Painting locally. (Tregastel/Perros Guirrec/Plumanach, etc).

Feel free to google these beautiful towns with their majestic coastline and famous beaches. Aside from being perfect for painting, all of them have other activities available for those who wish to hike, canoe, etc. A large network of hiking/walking trails has been developed, and goes all along the coast. So anywhere you are on the beach you just go up the hill and pick the trail. These are not hard trails and people of all ages walk them all the time. The views from these trails are spectacular.
Here is a good link with some views of the coastline

lena painting.jpg

Day 3. Paul Gauguin and Bretonne School of Art. Visits to Pont-Aven and Le Pouldu.

Bretagne was discovered as a major painting ground by many famous French painters back in the 19th century. They flocked there from Paris and other major towns to find inspiration in its magnificent natural, architectural beauty, history as well as unique local customs, music, costumes etc. In particular the grand Catholic processions called “Les Pardonnes” became one of the favorite subjects for these classical painters, many won prizes at Paris salons. A pardon is a typically Breton form of pilgrimage.


American, Dutch, Irish, Polish, German and English all came to this region in large numbers, many of them following the legendary French painter Paul Gauguin. Originally associated with the Impressionist painters and in particular Vincent Van Gogh, here in Brittany he parted with Impressionism and created a completely new style, known as Synthetism, which he then fully developed and expanded during his years in Tahiti.


We will visit the Pont-Aven Art Museum, one of the major museums in France devoted to Bretonne painters and in particular Paul Gauguin and his circle.

In the afternoon we will visit the home of Paul Gauguin in another small beautiful village called Le Pouldu. You will have a true immersion experience with audio sounds of life in mid- 19th century in this very remote and rugged region as it became frequented by artists looking for the unspoiled and ultimate inspiration.

john in pouldu.jpg
This dining room was painted by Paul Gauguin and his friends, other legendary French painters of the time, who came to study with him in Le Pouldu.

Day 4. Morning – Chateau de La Roche Jagu. Afternoon: Pontrieux.

On this day we will continue exploring and painting and getting deeper into the region. In the morning (or afternoon) we will visit one of the major castles in the area – Chateau de La Roche Jagu, dating back to the 11th century. This and other castles that we might visit, will tell us a story of French life from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and later years as it was all part of local and European history. In the afternoon (or morning depending on the weather) we will visit one of the most picturesque small towns of the region, called Pontrieux on the banks of the river Trieux. It is often called the Venice of Brittany as it is crisscrossed by canals. We will paint in the town and those interested in boating, can also rent a catamaran. 


 pontrieux - Copy.jpg

Day 5. Morning – Visit to the historic town of Treguier and the Gardens Kardalo

Treguier is a spectacularly beautiful historic town with one of the the most magnificent Flaming Gothic cathedrals in the area. We will walk the town, explore its history, visit the Cathedral. Painters will paint while others may continue touring and shopping. 


Bretagne and this particular region are famous for many beautiful gardens and you can dedicate weeks to just visiting all of them. But we thought this one, Kardalo is very special. We will visit and paint in the gardens in the second part of the day.

Day 6. Morning – Boat Trip to 7 Islands, Natural Reserve and Bird Sanctuary.

When you paint on the shores of one of the spectacular beaches you will see and quite possibly paint some rock formations in a distance. These are the famous 7 islands. We will take a boat trip to these islands and explore their natural beauty. 
In the afternoon/evening we will paint locally.

A youtube video dedicated to the 7 islands tour.

Day 7. Visit to Chateau Tonquedec.

Morning – painting locally at one of the towns of beaches.
Afternoon – visit to the historic Chateau Tonquedec and learning more of the history of France and the region.


Day 8 – departure.

Participants will be taken by minivans to the train station at Lannion, wh ere they will get on a train back to Paris or any other destination they have planned for their trip.

John and Lena Murray, Your Guides and Art Instructors

John and Lena Murray are your guides and art teachers. If you are joining a tour as an artist, you will be painting under the guidance of these two internationally-known artists and art educators. They own two art schools in the US, Bridgeview in NYC ( and Blue Ridge in Orange, VA ( Also John is an art professor of painting and sculpture at Woodberry Forest School for Boys in Virginia. Since they have spent every summer for the last 10 years in this particular region, they have gained a unique perspective and intimate knowledge of it. They will devote 100% of their time to helping you achieve progress with your artistic development, do some painting demonstrations and explain concepts behind plein air painting. Also, they have learnt a lot of local history and customs and are eager to share it all with you. You can use any materials of your choice such as oils, acrylics, pastels or watercolors.

open house john lena.jpg
John and Lena Murray with their artwork at their studio during Open Studio days.

Art Retreat. Landscape Painting Workshops in Virginia

Tentative Dates: Spring Break - Last week of April and Last week of June. Let us know what you think please.
Honah Lee Winery in Orange is one of our painting spots.
Honah Lee Winery is one of our favorite painting spots. Photo credit Honah Lee Winery.

Virginia art retreats take place in Orange County, VA with Bridgeview founders, acclaimed artists John Murray and Lena Murray. Orange County is located in Central Virginia and is probably the most beautiful spot for painters in America with its gentle rolling hills, views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, abundant vineyards, thoroughbred horse farms and architectural gems of pre-Civil War era. Also many consider it the birthplace of America since 4 of the first 6 presidents come fr om this area. Orange is the home to James Madison's estate Montpelier wh ere the American Constitution was written. 

The program will include PAINTING THE MAGNIFICENT LANDSCAPE in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Shenandoah National Park), Orchards at Grelen, one of our spectacular vineyards, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and James Madison's Montpelier. Under our supervision students will learn plein air painting or painting on location. Students may choose any medium they like, pastels, acrylics, oils or watercolors. Time permitting, we will have a final show at the historic Orange Train Station to show and possibly sell your work! Your teachers are John and Lena Murray, the founders of the Bridgeview School of Fine Arts who, while running the school remotely since 2001, live, work and exhibit in Orange County, VA.

Special Note! This Art Camp/Retreat is for adults and kids. Minimum age is 7. No unaccompanied minors are allowed. Each party/family has to have a car to get fr om one point to another. However, the longest distance may be just 30 minutes of scenic country driving, since all points of touring/painting are very close to each other. Usually we have 2 painting sessions, a morning and afternoon. Non-painters (husbands/wives/parents/grandparents/siblings) pay the same fee because they are part of the group, and while they may not choose to paint, they do lots of touring/hiking/wine tasting which we arrange for all. We promise you, nobody will be bored! There are more things to explore here than you can imagine. One and only complaint fr om prior participants was that there was not enough time to see and paint all of it.

High end accommodations at historic mansions and dinners are included in the package. And if you live in the area you only pay for the tours and classes. Please contact us for pricing because it varies depending on the size of your party and how many nights (3 to 5) you choose to stay.

Photos below fr om prior Art Camps.

Mayhurst Estate
Mayhurst Estate usually hosts our guests. This is wh ere it all happens, art and new friendships. Photo courtesy of Mayhurst.

Gabi Armstrong painting the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shanandoah National Park.

Gabi Armstrong fr om Portland Oregon is painting the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Shenandoah National Park

Sofia Petrides with her painting at James Madisons' estate
Bridgeview student Sophia Petrides with her painting at James Madison's Estate. The painting was sold at the final Art Show and is now in the collection of the owners of the historic Mayhurst Estate in Orange.

Painting at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
Bridgeview student Antonia Pribanic and her younger sister with their art done at the Thomas Jefferson's home in Monticello.

Our home base at Mayhurst Estate Bed and Breakfast is ideal for creating art and enjoying the tremendous beauty of our region in its tranquil and majestic setting.

Lena Murray painting at the Honah Lee Vinyard.

Lena Murray painting at Honah Lee winery.

Sketching a horse at Oakfield Heights farm
Art campers sketching horses at the Oakland Heights farm.

Allie Lozitsky painting apple orchards at Grelen gardens.
Allie Lozitsky painting apples at the Grelen orchards in the Fall.

Elena Rykoff with her still life. When it's raining we paint under cover.
Bridgeview student Elena Rykoff painting a still life at the Mayhurst Estate, a historic bed and breakfast which is also the group's home during the visit.

Alena Dixon painting peaches at Grelen orchard.
Alena Dixon from Oklahoma is painting peaches at the Grelen Orchards.

Mom and two kids showing their work at the historic Orange Train Station
Mom and kids from Washington DC display their work at the historic train station in Orange during the final show open to the public.

Blue Ridge Mountains by Alena Dixon, a participant from Oklahoma.
Blue Ridge Mountains by Alena Dixon from Oklahoma

The group painted in the town of Orange at the historic Taylor Park.
Painting in the historic Town of Orange.

Adult participants and parents enjoy wine at the historic Barboursville vineyard.
Grownups, painters and some non-painters (parents, husbands) enjoying the best wine in Virginia at the historic Barboursville winery, a former plantation
with a home designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Young artist painting at the historic Bloomingdale farm in Somerset near Orange.

Zina and son Alex enjoying a sumptuous farm to table breakfast at Mayhurst Inn.
Zina and 10 year old son Alex enjoying a sumptuous farm to table breakfast at the Mayhurst B&B

The group enjoys the most beautiful sunsets of this famous Piedmont region. Sunset on the Bloomingdale farm. Bloomingdale farm also hosts some of our participants.

Historic Orange with its fountain at Taylor Park.
Historic downtown Orange during Christmas.

7 year old getting on a horse for the first time
First time on a horse for this 7 year old from Oklahoma

Discovering rural life at Mayhurst Estate, the home base of our Art Camp.
In between painting sessions Pribanic sisters enjoy real rural life at the Mayhurst Estate

Final art show at the historic train station in Orange.
And finally the show and art sales at the historic Train Station in Orange. History made and lots of artwork is being purchased by Orange town folks.

Cecile Milnes at the final exhibit
Cecile Mines attended two of our art camps and this is her wall at the final show
from her second one in July 2021.

Final Exhibit by all participants at the historic Train Station in Orange, VA.
Lots of new friendships made

The groups often tour and paint at the historic home and museum of James Madison, the father of the American Constitution.
It was here that the Constitution was envisioned and parts of it written.

Group photo before the final show at the historic Train Station of Orange, VA.
This is wh ere it all happens, in Orange County, Virginia.

Camp participant and and acclaimed organist Liya Petrides peformed at the historic St. Thomas church in Orange for our group and other town folks.
Liya Petrides, a multiple times art camp participant and an acclaimed organist performing a concert for our group and the town of Orange.

Model looking at his image.

Sophia Petrides painting at the historic Chatham Estate in Fredericksburg.
Sophia Petrides, a multiple times participant, painting at the historic Chatham Estate in Fredericksburg.

Barboursville winery with the historic ruins of Thomas Jefferson's designed house.
Historic Barboursville winery with the ruins of a home designed by Thomas Jefferson for Governor Barbour.

Touring the home and studio of Gary Melchers in Fredericksburg.
Camp participants tour the home and art studio of 19/20 century artist Gary Melchers in Fredericksburg.